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Ben Sory Collection

Identifier: 2000.008

Content Description

The Ben Sory Collection contains correspondences written to and from Ben Sory, receipts, legal documents, copies of newspaper articles, and documents related to the Dark Tobacco Planters Protective Association. The majority of the materials in this collection consist of business correspondences written between 1905 and 1911.


  • 1890 - 1966


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Biographical / Historical

Benjamin Horatio Sory was born in Tennessee on April 26, 1867 and died October 9, 1938. He was a resident of Adams, Tennessee before moving to Clarksville, TN between 1900 and 1910. He served as the Sherriff of Robertson County before becoming a prominent tobacco broker with B. H. Tobacco, McMurry & Sory, and the Clarksville Tobacco Company. Sory openly defied the PPA and refused membership multiple times. He provided guns to arm men against Night Rider attacks.

Montgomery County and the surrounding area was one of the largest tobacco producing areas in the United States, known as The Eastern Dark Fired Tobacco region, or the Black Patch. In 1890, a number of tobacco manufacturers, including Ben Sory, merged to form the American Tobacco Company (ATC) and began fixing tobacco prices and distribution. This had a negative impact on the profit margins of local farmers, so in 1904, these farmers formed an alliance called Dark Tobacco District Planters’ Protective Association of Kentucky and Tennessee (PPA). A small faction of this group, known as the Night Riders, attempted to coerce other farmers to join the PPA, often resorting to violence and destruction. In order to defend against the actions of the Night Riders, Ben Sory formed a militia in 1908 to guard the roads leading into Clarksville from raids. On January 21st, after hearing that Night Riders might plan to attack Clarksville, Ben Sory and a group of men opened fire on suspected Night Riders as they passed by. One Night Rider was killed and another wounded in the incident, causing a backlash from the PPA against Ben Sory. The PPA argued that Sory acted without authority and boycotted all Clarksville businesses. The Clarksville economy suffered significantly, so after a month the city agreed with the PPA to uphold proper regulations in order to end the boycott.


.42 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Arranged by material type, and chronologically.

Processing Information

Letters were unfolded, paper clips removed.

Melissa Caples Miller
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Montgomery County Archives Repository

350 Pageant Lane
Suite 101D
Clarksville Tennessee 30741 United States